No change to MMP threshold before next election - PM

By Talisa Kupenga

Despite a challenge from Simon Bridges this morning, the Prime Minister has ruled out lowering the vote threshold from 5-percent to four-percent before the next election.

Bridges says “rorting the system for Labour's electoral advantage is wrong and to do it here to save the coalition's bacon is also wrong."

Justice Minister Andrew Little says “there's a bit of discussion to go on between the Government parties about how we approach that and whether or not it's subject to a referendum or whether we pass the legislation."

It was one of the changes proposed in a Green Party Member's Bill which was also one of the 2012 MMP review recommendations.
It would make it easier for smaller parties to enter parliament and provide for more diverse political representation.

National wants the vote threshold to remain as is, but Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson says the public are owed that debate after National shelved it without any consultation.

The Green Party is urging Andrew Little to make the member’s bill a Government bill which means it can be introduced to the house at any time. But Winston Peters says it’s a decision for the people.

"We'll put it to the New Zealand people not decide by ourselves, though I expect people to understand our position.

“We're the only new party that's ever defended the five-percent threshold, why? “Because we think if you can't get five-percent you shouldn't be in Parliament."

The bill also looks to give prisoners the right to vote, ban overseas donations to political parties and allow Māori to change roll types at any times.